Librarians And Readers Against DRM [Updated]

from the pushing-back dept

HarperCollins recently announced it would limit library e-book checkouts to 26, after which said e-books "bought" and paid for by libraries would self-destruct. Some librarians I know were none too thrilled about this, and asked me to create a graphic to show it:


What ebout non-librarians who are against DRM? By popular demand, I modified the graphic for everyone:
These were produced for The Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books, which encourages everyone to copy the images and spread the word.

 Update: we’ve added an Authors Against DRM graphic, again by popular demand (from authors).



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Comments on “Librarians And Readers Against DRM [Updated]”

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Joe News says:

This just in!

In other news HarperCollins has licensed a technology from a government agency, known as IMF, to create audiobooks that will self destruct in five seconds after the first listening. Research is being done as to whether or not this technology can be carried over into printed books. A Press Agent for HarperCollins gave the following statement.

“The printed word is only as useful as our ability to control it. HarperCollins is commited to sharing our entire library on the terms that best benefits our customers and our stockholders.”

After being asked how a product that is specifically designed to destroy itself after a period of time benefits customers, we received this response.

“I don’t see why anyone would want to read our books more than once.”

Anonymous Coward says:

The way this is turning out sounds more like lobbyists from the anti-copyright world are piling on, rather than librarians doing this of their own accord, and certainly not so rapidly.

Here’s an idea Mike: why not put a little effort into finding out who is actually behind this .info domain? Seems that a single librarian and a “technologist” named Matthew Goins (the domain is registered to him) are leading the charge. Who is Matthew Goins?

How about a little background Mike? This group smells very much like astroturfing to me.

Stuart says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I am thinking that you are an alien sent from Europa to addle our minds with nonsensical drivel till our brains drip from our ears. At which time your buddies will come with straws and suck out our brains for their sustenance.
We should put in a little effort to see who is behind this “Anonymous Coward”.

Or maybe we do not have to fully investigate everyones thoughts. Come up with some evidence or STFU.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“What?! A librarian teamed up with a technologist to create a website? How dare they!”

Psst! It turns out librarians also team up with construction companies to build their little library pirate havens. Did you know you can read books there FOR FREE! ZOMG!!!@!@

Also, did you know Jesus was a Jew?

Wonders abound….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“AI talking about itself in the third person… I don’t know what to make of that.”

My speech pattern software was based off of NBA post-game press conferences held by players. It was a stupid idea, but one which unfortunately Dark Helmet is now burdened with.

Also, my damn teammates never pass Dark Helmet the ball enough….DAMMIT!


Re: Get the Narn Bat Squad

…no. I just think you completely misjudge librarians as a group. This sort of thing is not out of character at all and there are plenty of librarians that are just as “tech geeky” as anyone here.

They certainly understand and appreciate the implications of technology and politics as it applies to the dissemination of information.

coldbrew says:

Re: Re: Logo by Nina

You should get 27 8×10 colored, glossy, pictures with circles and arrows with a paragraph on the back of each one and prove this conspiracy against the poor copyright cartel. Those poor little companies up against a librarian and a technologist.

Playing the underdog, little-guy is Rush Limbaugh’s schtick, not surprised you devcided to try and use it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Logo by Nina

I love how fast you guys are to run out and support and protect this. Yet, with Nina’s involvement, this is really smelling of astroturfing, where people concerned about copyright have gotten a librarian to front for them on the issue.

Done in the other direction, Mike would be posting his ass off about how horrible it is. Why is it good from this side and bad when the other side does it?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Logo by Nina

“I think the latter, not the former.”

First, two minutes of searching provided info on Matt and the company that employs him. They appear to be a technology firm focusing on consulting with companies using primarily open source software to provide them support, somewhat similar to Redhat but with a wider range of OS platforms.

Why couldn’t you do that search yourself instead of plaguing this thread with your Astroturf screaming jibberish nonsense?

Secondly, who the fuck cares? You’ve got librarians and some technology folks getting together for a common purpose. You’re attempt to turn this into a chicken or the egg question makes no sense. They share a vision for DRM free eBooks for libraries. What difference does it make who came to who? Their vision is shared.

Honestly, the lengths you’re going to create obfuscation of the point of all this is really quite telling. It’s like some kind of psy-ops nonsense without the actual ability to pull it off….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Logo by Nina

I am asking the same questions that Mike would ask of the other side.

You still haven’t answered the question, and if anything made it even more clear. If the guy is an “open source” type, is he also an anti-copyright guy? Is he involved in any other groups? Why Nina Paley? Are there not hundreds of equally talented people out there to do the job? Perhaps contacts from within the anti-copyright community?

See how it works? Your answers created more questions.

Care to answer them?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Logo by Nina

“I am asking the same questions that Mike would ask of the other side.”

Okay, let’s assume we take that as a given. SO WHAT!!???? What is the point of the damned question? Two groups have come together for a common purpose. What difference does it make who approached whom?

“If the guy is an “open source” type, is he also an anti-copyright guy? Is he involved in any other groups?”

Well, anti-copyright is sort of a blanket term, so I guess I’m not sure what you mean. I, for instance, do not support abolishing copyright, but I don’t support it’s current form either. Am I anti-copyright?

But, to attempt to answer, from Matt’s bio on their company site:

“Matt Goins is a software developer and systems administrator fluent in a wide range of free software development platforms and operating systems. He resides in Brooklyn. In his spare time he’s an amateur philosopher.”

So, he’s a developer, or a creator, and an admin. No real light shed there, other than he’s involved in software development, so he’s a creator. How about company info?

“In our own practice, we use free and open source software to keep in constant communication and to aid us in the managing and operations of our network. This flexibility enables us to mobilize a diverse range of talents and skills in order to address our clients’ specific needs and concerns. Because we deploy free and open source software, we can build upon our work and the accumulative experience gained by each project we complete.”

Okay, so they use free open source software. That certainly doesn’t make them anti-copyright, although they probably have a relatively non-strict view of current copyright laws, or at least that would be my guess. But they’re certainly not an advocacy group for anti-copyright raporist extremism.

Under their project list, they’ve worked with and have done custom development of open source software for: labor groups, media groups (CBC, Democracy Now!, USA Today, Pulitzer, etc.), educational groups, the healthcare industry, and some work on what appears to be a single electoral campaign. No where in any of that is a “ZOMG!!!@ copyright is a bitch and must be skewered with our massive wang-swords”.

“Why Nina Paley? Are there not hundreds of equally talented people out there to do the job? Perhaps contacts from within the anti-copyright community?”

Uh, because she’s talented and obviously shares some of their philosophy. Beyond that, I’ll let her speak for herself on this thread (hopefully). But, again, who the fuck cares? It’s like saying, “GASP! Chicago elected Rahm Emanuel Mayor? Why him? There are plenty of other people qualified to be mayor! What nefarious purpose could be behind electing Rahm?”

There is no nefarious purpose. He was picked. Big deal.

“Care to answer them?”

I did my best and think I was fairly thorough. Now, I asked you a couple of questions as well, which can all be boiled down to this one:

Why did I just do all of that? What is the purpose of your questions. What are you actually trying to find out (assuming your questions are honest)? What the hell is the point?

Care to answer them?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Logo by Nina

Let see, I found some interesting quotes from Matt Goins:

“Matt Goins’s quote comparing the Democrats to “the mafia without the killings” referred to the Democratic Party and their supporters’ harassment of petition circulators. We were all threatened at one point. Goins was once told that he would be “put on a blacklist” while he was petitioning.

My quote, “I’m glad America is hated. I think the U.S. should shut down all its military bases abroad,” was in the context of Conniff’s laments about the U.S.’s standing in the world. I was simply making the point that regardless of whether Bush or Kerry was in office, we would be doing things that people should hate us for.”

From 2004, but seems pretty agressive.

It is pretty hard to figure out, as there are a couple of relatively well known Matt Goins (one a photographer of horses) so it makes it hard to see where he shows up. The only thing on his website is a hater comment on facebook.

What I do find interesting is that everything about him (what little there is) says “technologist Matthew Goins”. It’s almost amusing that everyone is working from the same press release, I guess.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Logo by Nina

The questions are about the group and how it was created (and it’s appearance of tied to the anti-copyright community).

The question would did this librarian come up with the idea and go find a technology partner, or did the technology partner and his anti-copyright friends go find an outspoken librarian (from Matt’s town) to front for their group?

The website was only created a short time ago. The librarian previous to this had really no web profile I could find. Suddenly, she is a poster child for the anti-copyright movement on e-books? Suddenly she can find the most agressive anti-copyright cartoonist on the planet to make a logo?

Again, if this was a pro-copyright group, Mike would be out there with all sorts of astroturfing claims and “apparent links”. On the surface, it appears to be a group created by anti-copyright people to fight a fight that librarians didn’t even know about. That would be astroturfing, no?

Nina Paley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Logo by Nina

Why Nina Paley?

Librarian emails me asking how to commission a “Librarians Against DRM” logo. I say I’ll do it for a donation to be determined by her. I send them 6 variations, they choose 2 and post them. I receive a donation check in the mail, which I haven’t cashed yet because I think maybe I should have just donated the art in the first place (still wondering what to do about that).

Sneaky, isn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Logo by Nina

Nope. I am asking the painful question. Why Nina out of millions of people capable of making a logo? Does Nina perhaps know Matt? Perhaps one of the backers of the group is more in the “freetard revolution” and knew that dragging Nina in would lead to exposure here and on her site?

That would be enough of a smell for Mike to go nuclear on a pro-copyright group. Why not ask the same questions about anti-copyright groups?

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Logo by Nina

That would be enough of a smell for Mike to go nuclear on a pro-copyright group. Why not ask the same questions about anti-copyright groups?

Because 2 second Google searches clearly showed that such relationships do not have any indication of suspicious activity? Because everyone involved has been pretty up front about their relationships to each other? Perhaps because Nina is already well known here to both Techdirt readers and Mike?

How about your questions being pointless inferring and shit stirring in an attempt to make some vague point that contradicts clear evidence like now RIAA employees changing bills in the middle of the night against artists favour and the general suspicion that should arise from private companies wanting even greater copyright protection than we already have. Is that a good enough answer to your pointless attention seeking?

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Logo by Nina

Stop. Take a deep breath and relax. Now, take off the tinfoil hat, and repeat after me: ‘There does not always have to be a ‘why’ for deciding on an artist out of millions of choices. There does not always have to be a conspiracy just because diverse groups who actually agree on something band together so their voices can be heard.’

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Logo by Nina

Taken as a whole, the question remains: Is this a librarian group run for and by librarians for librarians, or is it a front group for anti-copyright activists?
All librarians are, by definition, anti-copyright activists.
Their job is to freely share copyrighted material to readers who would otherwise have to pay for their own copy – thus acting in opposition to the purposes of copyright.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Logo by Nina

“Done in the other direction, Mike would be posting his ass off about how horrible it is. Why is it good from this side and bad when the other side does it?”

When laws are being abused by those in power (the govt, the corps) to the detriment of the public good, thats why. Govt and corps have the power (economic, legal, or otherwise) to strip the public of their rights and to manipulate (see the vanishing public domain, and the erosion of the copyright clause of the constitution) to their benefit at the expense of the public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Logo by Nina

All without capitalizing a full word. Damn RD, you are moving forward. Are the meds working out?

Too bad that rather than addressing the question, you just use it as a reason to spew some anti-corporate, anti-copyright rhetoric that even Mike won’t bother to use anymore.

Deirdre (profile) says:

I admire librarians. They are the first to stand up for the free distribution of information and the protection of the privacy of their patrons. If you had Googled you would have known who Matthew Goins was and that he has a history of work with libraries and librarians.

This site: might help you understand that this is a big issue for librarians and library users.

vivaelamor (profile) says:


I had a family member recently try and work out why she should buy books for her newly gifted Kindle when she can get second-hand books cheap and then sell them again. It’s not just “technologists” realising how bad high prices and restrictions are for eBooks, it’s anyone who doesn’t have more money than sense. She wanted to try and use this gift, but despite it’s hefty price tag it still provides less value than second hand books.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: eReaders

I bought a kindle within one day I had already paid for it with all the free books I “bought” with it. (For the copyright whores among us, I didn’t pirate a single book). It’s incredible how many public domain books are out there. Granted, I wasn’t much of a reader until recently so your family member might have already read all the public domain books he/she wanted to. But even if I could have bought the books at $2 each, the Kindle has already paid for itself.

Matt Goins says:

Who I am

Hi, I’m Matt Goins, and I mostly do web development and consulting on a freelance basis. I am an “open source type” or whatever the AC above said.

I am personally against copyright, but I don’t think you have to be against copyright to be against DRM.

DRM is *much, much* worse than copyright, but that’s just my opinion.

It sucks that some of the anonymous posters here consider this “astroturfing”, but since it’s a project run by just a tiny group of people, that might be a valid thing to label it.

I hope we have enough astroturf to carpet the whole globe with anti-DRM sentiment! 😉

Matt Goins says:

Who I am

Oh, and by the way I did say the thing about comparing the Democrats to the mafia, but in context it was a joke. We all had a good laugh. I regret saying it to a reporter though.

I was in college and had never talked to the media before, so I wasn’t really thinking about what I was saying. Sorry if it offends anyone.

A very angry man on the street who was a democrat did tell me he was going to put me on a blacklist that year though, and he seemed serious enough. Hopefully he forgot after he walked away 😉

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Who I am

Thanks for showing up Matt. Hopefully I didn’t get things too incorrect when I was poking about the interwebz for info above. One thing that probably should be hilighted:

“I am personally against copyright, but I don’t think you have to be against copyright to be against DRM.”

This is why all that AC chicken or the egg nonsense is bullshit. This isn’t about copyright in the strictest of senses. It’s about DRM on library books….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Who I am

DRM is just a process by which rights granted under copyright are sold. When you remove the physical carrier (paper) and move to a completely digital model, there are other ways that you can sell or license things that are well within copyright law. DRM is a tool for the enforcement of the rights granted.

DRM would not exist without copyright, as there would be no law to support it.

Matt, welcome to the party. Would you care to explain how Nina Paley happened to get involved, and perhaps a little about how your group started up?

Thanks 🙂

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who I am

And before the DMCA when did they explicitly protect or enforce DRM? And please back up the assertion that without copyright law, DRM would cease to exist. Considering examples like Sony rootkit which go far beyond what copyright law allows, it’s pretty obvious DRM would not only exist when backed by law.

DRM is just a process by which rights granted under copyright are sold.

DRM is a technical measure to restrict the usage of something. That’s it. It can and has been used to enforce a number of restrictions that bare little relation to any rights that could be deemed reasonably granted by copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t get this. Libraries are currently using DRM all over this country with such technology as OverDrive. In fact I am considering pulling my support for local libraries because my tax dollars are going to the “rental” model of mp3s that the library pays for. I want no part of supporting a library that then supports DRM through proxy.

libelle says:

librarian here

Hey I’m a librarian and I’m pretty against this. This is about preserving old power structures – something every old media company is trying to do – and retaining their power. My workplace is keen to invest in digital media for our users, but so far no one has really stepped up and offered something we can use. Traditionally, we’re a small market so I suppose it’s just not a priority.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think we would pro and anti camps can reach an agreement here if they make the effort to be at all reasonable.

We can all have what we want from this
and the solution is easy

We should change the name of DRM.

Ok, so it has been tried before but DCE (Digital Consumer Enablement)had the problem of insanity to surmount unlike my suggestions:

No one is against FTW or ROFL so we could all accept it and not have so much of this argumentation.

PR consultant for ROFL FTW!

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